Future female leaders come together to perfect themselves

A summer camp aimed at fostering business acumen and potential in high school girls was held last month at Calvin University.

In late July, Michigan Women Forward partnered with SuitUp, an organization that educates college students about career readiness, to plan Next Gen Leaders, a two-day event where attendees discovered what it would be to solve a realistic business challenge, such as creating a new product.

The seminar gave aspiring businesswomen the opportunity to interact with business professionals who coached them on marketing, fundraising design and strategy, as well as business skills.

According to the organizers of the event, the participants worked on teamwork in a fun and ice-breaking atmosphere with the aim of fostering friendship, loyalty and teamwork. Part of the skill building involved a collaborative project in which students worked together to create a pitch in the style of the popular TV show ‘Shark Tank’, to present to the judges for a cash prize.

Participants also participated in a financial literacy course where they received tips and strategies to manifest their best financial future.

Participants first worked in large groups, then were separated into smaller groups where a “boss babe” panelist guided them through open and honest conversations about life after high school and setting up their future for to succeed.

Healthy relationships, walking boldly in your purpose, living a courageous life and understanding your impact were among the topics discussed. The participants concluded the second day with a question-and-answer discussion.

SuitUp is an international organization “created to equip students for life beyond the classroom by bringing engaging educational competitions to communities across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom,” according to its site. website. The organization encourages active learning in career awareness, “not passive listening to professionals at a careers day.”

Michigan Women Forward was founded in 1986, at a time when only 3% of philanthropic dollars in the United States went to programs for women and girls. Founder Mary Jo Pulte enlisted the help of 30 other women, and together they founded an organization with the goal of improving the economic and personal well-being of Michigan women and girls.

The 2022 Grand Rapids Next Gen Leaders Camp was sponsored by AT&T.

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